09/28/2005: Those Good Citizens....
I have an excerpt from a Driftglass post and some added commentary.
Click on the “more” button” to read further below the fold.
“A particular word used by George Bush in a particular way – and not a dirty or derisive word -- just at that moment seemed to make the truth of the Bush persona open up a little further, like an origami flower made out of a Jim Beam label.
Here’s the article; see if you can spot the word.
Bush: Ready to tap reserve:
President says his administration willing to loan oil to mitigate the shortfalls caused by storms.
September 26, 2005: 12:13 PM EDT
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - President Bush said Monday his administration is willing to release supplies from the nation's strategic oil reserve to deal with oil shortfalls caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
"It's important for our people to know that we understand the situation and that we're willing to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to mitigate any shortfalls in crude oil that could affect our consumers," Bush said in a statement made at the Energy Department in Washington.
The reserve, which is overseen by the Energy Department, is the government's emergency stockpile of crude oil that was created in the aftermath of the 1973-74 oil embargo. After Hurricane Katrina struck in August, the U.S. government agreed to loan 30 million barrels from the reserve.
Bush said Rita missed a lot of refining capacity along the Texas coast but that the effect of two storms in succession would naturally affect supply. Refineries in the Houston area process about a quarter of U.S. fuel stocks.
He said the government has suspended certain EPA rules to make it easier to import gasoline and get it to the market, but encouraged Americans conserve energy and cut non-essential travel.
Bush is – God help us – temporary steward of a great nation. Leader of the Free World. Commander-in-Chief of the last superpower and heir to the office of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt (both of ‘em) and Truman, so here’s my little bit of free advice from me to him.
You are the head of the most powerful nations on Earth, Mr. President, and nations don’t have “our consumers.”
Corporations have consumers.
Nations have citizens. And taxpayers. And founders. And sons. And daughters. And heroes.
The government of the United State is not a for-profit enterprise, and you are not head of Arbusto, CEO of Halliburton or Chairman of the Board of Silverado.
We don’t work for you, Mr. President: You work for us. And I know you will find this fact abhorrent, but the truth is, governments are necessarily set up to do exactly the opposite of what corporations do. Governments, Mr. President, of necessity take more money from those for whom they provide fewer services, and provide greater service to those less able to pay, because even though Oprah pays 5,000 times what I pay in taxes, she doesn’t get to drive 5,000 times faster than me.
Well, maybe in Chicago she does.
Government is not and can never be a place where what you pay in as a “consumer” is directly proportional to the service and attention you receive, so that a cut in what you are charged affects only you. What you pay in as a “citizen”, on the other hand, goes to help those who can least afford to help themselves. Goes for parks for everyone. Schools for everyone. Justice for everyone. Security for everyone.
A consumer makes a purchase – a private exchange of money for a specific thing of value.
A citizen pays a tax – a public sacrifice to support a public system from which they may or may not derive a direct benefit, but which is absolutely necessary because it is that system that promotes our shared values as a people and a culture.
“Fuck Everyone But Me” is a sentiment for the corporate Universe, but it has no place whatsoever in the public square, and is lethally antithetical to the very idea of a common, national good and purpose.
Good government is found in the balancing act of taxation. Take too much, and the wealth-creation that powers to engine dries up and blows away, which is why Communism is and always will be a failure. But tax too little, and you end up letting people die or live in misery who didn’t have to, and to cover up that fundamental crime against humanity, you end up having to invent some variant of an “Us and Them” ideology. That “those people” somehow deserve their fate and it’s somehow a much greater sin to be forced to help them because they are wicked or lazy or genetically inferior.
The Modern Liberal/Progressive movement has by-and-large learned the lesson of former, which is why Commies are a novelty these days – a sideshow act like the Dog-Faced Boy – instead of a threat. Which is why the Progressive Movement is damaged but salvageable.
OTOH, the Modern GOP positively mainlines the grotesque, divisive, “Fuck Everyone But Me” ideology -- dosing themselves with their narcotic dogma harder and harder and with larger-bore needles every year -- which is why the Conservative Movement as it is currently constituted is just fucking evil and beyond redemption.
The Real World requires the paired and complimentary interplay between the Government and the Marketplace, and Consumers are exclusively creatures of the latter.
The marketplace – properly tended and pruned – is a fine thing. It’s very efficient at delivering goods and services to places when a profit can be had, and completely useless at delivering the basics to the indigent, to infirm, the disabled, the abandoned, the elderly, the young and anywhere else the margins are too thin or non-existent.
And in that context, how we think of each other may be a small thing, but it means everything.
Because if in your unguarded heart you think of your fellow Americans as “consumers” and of some of them as “those people”, you will inevitably reach a harsh and brutal set of conclusions about how they should be treated and what your national priorities should be.
But if you believe that your fellow American is a “citizen” just like you, and your fellow man is your brother or your sister to whom you owe a duty, you’ll inevitably reach a set of radically different and drastically more humane conclusions which, if pursued pragmatically and realistically, can form a core of shared values among all of the various breeds of Liberals I know of.
And in the end, as we saw in New Orleans, whether your government thinks of you as its boss or its supplicant -- as a citizen to be abide by and attended to, or a consumer to be waited on only if you can flash enough cash –- can mean the different between life and death.”
One commentator wrote:
“These capitalist elites truly don't care about the "citizens" because they don't see them as such.”
And my response it this:
Or them selves as *such* either. The whole notion of a "Corporation" is a legal fiction of "personhood" attaching itself to this entity we call a *Corporation* for the purpose of making it act and abide like a "GOOD Citizen" itself.
Well, these supposed "American Corporation" are not and haven't been "American" for years.
Just give read through Lou Dobbs book "Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed is Shipping American Jobs Overseas."; and you'll begin to see how these Faux-Citizen Corporations (hundreds of them and all American ICONs of business) do their dirty deeds and have no allegiance to this country as a GOOD Citizen, or to any country for that matter.
And they are aided and abetted in this Bad Citizenship behavior by our very own government and Child-In-Chief.
Another Commentator had this funnie:
“Bush and Blair hold a summit on what to do about Iraq.
As has been the case since the
beginning of the campaign to liberate that poor country, the logic is clear, and the language is pellucid in it's accuracy:
Bush: "Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe..."
Blair: "They certainly did, Mr. President, and all mimsy were the borogroves, and the mome raths outgrabe!"
Bush: "You bet! Now, I've got this here exit plan that me'n Dick worked up on the White House Ouija board last night, and we confirmed it with a fresh load of sheep entrails, just this morning.
So, we're gonna vatchpiss the clangmoi and Clavicle the Shittys into a hard-charging police force, at the same time we drill a few holes in the Sooner levees around Anbar province. (This'll be easy; the 'Horns are off to a 4-0 start!)
How's that sound to you?"
Blair: "Splendid! Mr. President.
Shall I make reservations for us in Bern, Switzerland?"
Bush: "Uhhh...that aint anywhere near the Hague, is it?"
Blair: "No sir, the Swiss don't even know Belgium exists."
Bush: "Great. Just let me get my Halliburton stock option residual certificates, and we'll be outta here.
Karl! Don't forget to put up those photoshopped pics of Cindy Sheehan fucking rin-tin-tin, on the white house website! I'll send you a postcard. Ciao!"
Karen on 09.28.05 @ 08:16 AM CST